House deliberations on P5-trillion 2022 budget starts

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday started its plenary deliberations on the proposed P5.024-trillion budget for 2022, which is 11.5-percent higher than this year’s P4.506 trillion budget.

The proposed 2022 national budget guided by a strategy supported by three main pillars – Building Resilience amidst the Pandemic; Sustaining the Momentum towards Recovery; and Continuing the Legacy of Infrastructure Development.

Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Dalipe, who delivered the sponsorship speech on behalf of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Eric Yap, said the proposed 2022 budget would be crucial towards the country’s path for recovery from the impact of the global pandemic brought about by Covid-19 and its emerging variants on the economy and the people.

Dalipe said an amount of P395.59 billion has been allocated for Covid-19 response measures including infrastructure in the proposed budget for next year.

“We will not be deterred by the threat of this unseen enemy, Covid-19, from performing our solemn duties to our country and our people to provide an effective pandemic response through this budget,” Dalipe said.

He said Congress shall ensure that the government’s battle strategy on health and nutrition, social protection, governance, and development are carried out in this budget.

“We must act swiftly, efficiently, effectively to win the fight against Covid-19 in the coming years. Therefore, we urge, the timely passage of the General Appropriations Bill, which will ensure that our government through its programs and projects will be able to sustain and recover our lost momentum,” he said.

Dalipe said the social services sector will receive the largest share of P1.92 trillion or 38.3 percent of the total 2022 budget.

He said the economic services sector will receive the second largest share at 29.3 percent or P1.474 trillion; 17.2 percent or P862.7 billion to general public services; 10.8 percent or P541.3 billion to debt burden (including net lending); and 4.5 percent or P224.4 billion to defense.

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco earlier assured there would be no reenacted budget for next year as he vowed a swift and smooth passage of the proposed spending measure for 2022 by the end of September.

“We, in the House of Representatives, need to get our act together to ensure the swift and smooth passage of the 2022 national budget in order for the government to continue operating and provide much-needed services to the Filipino people as it is expected to,” Velasco said.

The House aims to pass its version of the 2022 national budget by Sept. 30, or before Congress suspends session on Oct. 17 to Nov. 15 for the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2022 elections.

He said the overall objective is for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the 2022 General Appropriations Act by December to prevent a reenacted budget that could slow economic growth and hamper the delivery of government services.

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